The Arab League has transferred USD 50 million dollars to the cash-strapped Palestinian territories, League Secretary General Amr Mussa said on Tuesday.
“Fifty million dollars have been transferred to the Palestinian Authority in full coordination with the Palestinian government,” said Mussa.
He was speaking at a joint press conference with Nabil Shaath, an envoy representing Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.
Saudi Arabia for its part also provided USD 50 million to the Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Shaath said at the league’s headquarters in Cairo.
The funds, which were transferred to the account of the Palestinian presidency, are “the first Arab payments to reach the territories since the Israeli siege,” said Shaath adding that the Arab League had already sent 15 million dollars to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and to employees and diplomats in Palestinian embassies.
The United States and European Union, which consider the governing Palestinian faction Hamas a terrorist organization, cut off direct aid payments because of the movement’s failure to renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist.
EU leaders in Brussels endorsed an estimated 100-million Euro (USD 126-million) aid package for the Palestinians, to be paid via a new funding mechanism.
Some Hamas leaders said the EU decision was a positive step but fell short of the direct engagement with the Palestinian government that the movement sought.
Palestinians living on the Gaza Strip have been struggling with shortages of food and fuel under an Israeli offensive against the territory aimed at securing the release of an Israeli soldier held by Palestinian militants since June 25.